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The green engine of growth

Sustain­ability is a successful busi­ness model

Anyone who still thinks that envi­ron­men­tally-friendly resource conser­va­tion means doing without is wrong. Energy effi­ciency and sustain­ability give compa­nies rock-solid compet­i­tive advan­tages and open up huge markets.

The world’s popu­la­tion is growing, and people are striving for pros­perity. These two global mega­trends lead to raw mate­rials becoming scarcer and more expen­sive. Compa­nies throughout the world have to confront these chal­lenges. There­fore, it is becoming accepted that doing busi­ness in a way that is envi­ron­men­tally respon­sible and conserves resources has nothing to do with self­less altruism or image polishing. Rather, it is a successful busi­ness model that pays off.

More from less: energy effi­ciency

It has always been the motto of successful entre­pre­neurs to reap the same or even higher earn­ings with fewer expen­di­tures. Heat less and still have it comfort­ably warm? Building insu­la­tion is a wise and forward-looking invest­ment, espe­cially in times of increasing energy prices. Prop­erty owners can also substan­tially increase the long-term value of their prop­erty with insu­la­tion.

Comfort­ably warm though barely heated – thanks to building insu­la­tion.

Intel­li­gent engi­neering efforts, partic­u­larly in the measure­ment and control tech­nology and elec­tric motor fields, are making giant steps in the direc­tion of effi­cient energy use. The Green­Tech EC tech­nology from ebm-papst is a good example of this. Customers from all indus­tries do not look only at the purchase price any more. Oper­ating costs, service life, energy usage and raw mate­rial consump­tion play an ever-greater role (keyword: total cost of owner­ship).

Throwing less money away: recy­cling manage­ment

Waste from the indus­trial age has a higher yield than any mine. With modern recy­cling and mate­rials sepa­ra­tion methods, you can get 250 grams of gold out of a ton of elec­tronic waste. By compar­ison: a typical mine manages to yield a mere five grams for every ton of stone – and with much higher energy usage.

A gold mine in the truest sense of the word: elec­tronic waste.

Rare earth mate­rials such as yttrium and neodymium are irre­place­able in produc­tion of modern elec­tronics and are found in every mobile phone or tele­vi­sion. The demand for such metals is constantly growing. As avail­ability decreases, prices are increasing. With ever-more sophis­ti­cated trash sorting facil­i­ties and mate­rials sepa­ra­tion methods, things we once thought of as rubbish can be brought back into the util­i­sa­tion cycle, conserving resources.

Plas­tics from the land: mate­rials and produc­tion

Product design is the stage where raw mate­rials can be saved most effec­tively. Why are there 260 types of plastic installed in a washing machine, if five would also do? The machine would then be easier to recycle. With this in mind, an increasing number of compa­nies are using eco-plas­tics made from renew­able resources such as corn or wood. The wood-plastic compound mate­rial devel­oped by ebm-papst, epylen®, is just one example of many inno­va­tions in this field.

Plastic from renew­able resources: epylen®

Mate­rials resources is another area with huge poten­tial for effi­ciency. New sheet metal rolling tech­niques make do with one-third less steel. Another option is to change the machining method. Rather than having sheet metal formed parts punched out with a lot of scrap waste, they can be punched out by laser to the exact millimetre. Compa­nies also save a lot of energy in produc­tion with well thought-out factory designs. For example, the ebm-papst plant in Hollen­bach, Germany uses the heat given off by the machines in order to heat colder areas of the factory. The success of these and other concepts imple­mented in an company’s everyday work is being demon­strated by ebm-papst during the green aware­ness weeks. The campaign, with the slogan “Every Day is a GreenDay” is starting on April 16th in Mulfingen, Germany, from where it will go around the whole world over the course of a year. The green engine of growth Ecology as an economic factor

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